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Ricardo Cortes Education. (2013) 'A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola.'

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U.s. 34, Bolivia 23, Colombia 12, Coca-cola 10, United States 9, Us 9, Latin America 8, U.n. 7, Hawaii 5, Peru 5, Sanho 5, America 4, Harry Anslinger 4, Washington 3, The Coca-cola 3, Georgia 3, South America 3, Ricardo 3, Europe 2, Pemberton 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Ricardo Cortes  Education.  (2013) 'A  
   Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola.'  

    February 18, 2013
    8:30 - 9:45am EST  

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does now. um, but what excites me, quite frankly, is some of the things, in fact, that lowell mcadam talked about last night at his keynote which is really not what everybody thinks when they think about mobile these days, you know? is a lot of times people go it's so your kids can watch whatever movies they want to watch, and they can all do it at the same time. but this is really, in my view, this is about, you know, being able to truly be a connected society and in a way to actually deal with some of the other, you know, shared success types of issues we talked about. >> host: such as? >> guest: you know, education, health care, all the rest. all the things that he was talking about last night that if you really think about it, most of them will be mobile. i mean, telematic, for example. if you're in your car, it's going to be mobile. but so often we view this need for spectrum as being related more toward, to -- related more
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to, you know, the need for, you know, more videos or youtube downloads. and in reality that's not what we should be thinking about as a society. it's really to enable, you know, the kinds of interconnected health care, energy, education policy. and it's all going to be mobile. and if it's mobile, you need spectrum. >> host: charla rath, vice president of verizon for wireless policy development. this is "the communicators" on c-span. "the communicators" is on location in las vegas at ces international 2013, the technology trade show. more programming next week. >> and now, ricardo cortes talks about attempts to prohibit the use of coffee and coca in the u.s. and around the world. mr. cortes describes secret deals made by top u.s. anti-drug official harry answer linger
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pushing to banco ca's use worldwide. this is a little over an hour. >> okay. um, and so tonight we are pleased to welcome ricardo cortes to discuss his latest book, "a secret history of coffee, coe that and cola: a tale of coffee, coca-cola, caffeine, secret formulas, special flavors, special favors and a future of prohibition." cortes is the creator and illustrator of a series of subversive books for all ages, for postally all ages about such things as marijuana, bombing and the jamaican bobsled team. his latest book examines a series of highly addictive substances that have caused many deaths and fueled much, much profit in this how they make their way into the u.s. and what the u.s. government's role has been in insuring that they come into this country, all right? and this evening we are pleased to be joined by two drug policy
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experts as well. its fellow sanho tree and colette that youngers. and without further ado, i want to hand it over to the panel. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much foring out here. -- for coming out here. i'm really excited. i just came in from new york. it's great to be here. i'm going to start off by talking about my book, and then we're going to go into a little bit about which focus is on coca and coca policy and then we'll get into how that's relevant especially this week and what's going on at the u.n. and the history of the tree that, basically, prohibits coca around the world. my book actually started out as a children's book. um, it started out as a follow-up to a children's book i did about marijuana back in 2004-2005. it wasn't a book about teaching kids how to smoke wield, but it was rather an educational book about a parent, how they might
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talk to their kids about a difficult subject that, you know, that they might all run into. so that's why the format is kind of like an illustrated picture book for kids. but as i got deeper into the subject and started looking into coca which originally i thought, you know, is relevant to children's lives. in south america there are children that pick it, there are families that are involved in the oppressive policies to eradicate coca, and that's a family issue as well as a social and cultural issue. but as i got deeper into the history of coca and specifically with the relationship to the coca-cola company, the origins of cocaine, um, from a medical marvel to the drug problem we have today, it got really complicated and so, hence, it's now a book for adults. i also started back before coca as a secret history of coffee, coca and cola. i started with coffee because i wanted to do a comparison of
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something that's always fascinated me with the way that drugs, plants change their perceptions of their drugs and plants change over time. the cultural perceptions of them, the legal, the social perceptions. i was inspired by michael pollen's book, the botany of desire, where he talks about the history ofs of four different plants, one being apples. and how when apples first came to this country, they weren't the flesh shi fruit we all know today we eat, but they were used for fermentation purposes. people would get drunk and, hence, there were people that wanted to ban the apple. i looked further, and i found that there were other plants similarly that today you would say that's incredible that people would have problems with tomatoes, that it was a witch's fruit or potatoes that weren't in the bible, so we should have problems with it. and then, obviously, now coffee. and coffee was fascinating because there were points, um, great origin myths of coffee and then eventually going throughout
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the islamic world, and there were questions to the health of it, the religious legality of it, and there were times where coffee was banned, coffeehouses or were shut down sometimes for health reasons, but also for political reasons. they were sites of sedition and sites of political discourse. but so i saw that this coffee was another plant with an alkaloid as its principal, active ingredient, the calf fee of the coffee -- caffeine of the coffee that was something that went through these cycles of experimentation and then prohibition and then, obviously, acceptance. there's, coffee's pretty much legal in most parts of the united states today. so coca is a similar plant, very similar. it's sometimes picked on the same mountainsides by the same people. and they both have an alkaloid
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as its principal, active ingredient. the calf -- the caffeine and the cocaine are both in their pure form very powerful stimulants, caffeine is actually toxic in its purest form. and so i just wanted to make a comparison about those two plants, and that's why i went so far back to go into the history of coffee. and get a little bit into the history of the origins of cocaine. and that's when it crept into the question of coca-cola, the coca-cola company which is something that always fascinated me because i grew up with those rumors that this were cocaine in coca-cola, is it -- was there ever cocaine? yes, there was cocaine in coca-cola. it was coca-cola started to take the cocaine out of coca-cola in about 1902, 1903. um, they met a german cocaine maker, louis schafer, who basically was the person who
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would take out the cocaine at a facility out in new jersey. and as we can talk about today, that pharmaceutical company, that chemical company is still there today. it's called steppen company. you can go on the, you can go on the dea web site and ever year see how they have to register to importico ca leaf for -- import coca leaf and register for the production of cocaine as a controlled substance. so, yeah. i went into that history, too, and basically found out that coca-cola has been getting access to coca leaf for the past century, and then where this all comes together today in what we're going to also get into is that the coca became prohibited around the world, um, through one of three treaties that now dictates international drug policy. and the first one is called the
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1961 single convention on far cot you can drugs. and -- narcotic drugs. and that was the treaty that today still says bolivia's supposed to eradicate all their wild coca bushes, and we have to stop the chewing of coca, something that has been going on in south america for thousands of years. and the coca-cola company had a role in the negotiations of that treaty. i went through the national archives, and what you see a lot in this book, there's actually illustrations of the pictures that i took in the archives of the documents. instead of a prose book and writing all the words out, i went -- i found boxes and boxes of documents of the federal bureau of narcotics in the personal files of harry anslinger, i took photographs of them, and then i illustrated them. so what you'll see in the book is, actually, rather than retell the story in words, i actually recreated the documents and
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these letters in this correspondence that happened over decades and decades and decades between harry anslinger who you may know as the architect of the reefer madness campaign against marijuana. he was really active and successful in prohibiting marriage. at the same time, he was also the point man for the federal government in its negotiations at the u.n. to codify the laws against coca. while that was happening, harry anslinger was in constant communication with the coca-cola company primarily through the vice president, ralph hayes, who i really got to feel a relationship between them over time. they had a really interesting parlay between each other. yeah, so that's the beginning of an overview of the book. i think i want to be able to pass the mic back and forth, and
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i think we're going to have questions for each other. but, yeah, that's the beginning. >> good evening. my name is sanho tree, the institute for drug policy studies where i run the drug institute there. and, you know, i was once asked to talk to a group of high school students, and they looked at your resumé and background, and then they came up with a topic, and you had to speak to the topic. and this being a high school audience, they wanted to hear about sex, drugs and international relations. [laughter] and i thought, lord, how am i going to tie all these things together? it didn't dawn on me until, of course, the last minute, and i realized the way to tell that story was through the story of columbus who i consider to be the granddaddy of international drug traffickers. and i use that word "drugs" because it's relative. how you see the world depends on where you sit, where you stand in your perspective. and so i want to reframe this
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discussion for us in ways that we perhaps may not think of very often. you know the story of columbus. he was after the spice route to asia, right? looking for a shortcut. and he was also interested in gold and spreading the religion and stuff, but primarily he was about spices. why spices? why were spices so valuable back then? it wasn't just that food was finish in europe at the time -- food was terrible in europe at the time before all these things in the new world, and it was, but all these spices, each new, exotic spice was thought to have certain properties. they might make you feel a bit more randy, how should i put this? each of these new spices were kind of the viagra of the day, right? so that's one of the reasons why this trade became so valuable, and people risked their lives to explore these things. so after the conquest and kohl in iization, the settlers made
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fortunes exporting drugs back to europe and consuming them within this hemisphere as well. and by drugs i mean sugar -- which many people consider a drug -- where we get rum from, definitely a drug, coffee, tobacco, tea, and, of course, these afrotease yak spices, right? and so these things became the developmental engine for hemispheric development. right? vast fortunes were created. think about, you know, where we are today, washington, d.c., virginia, maryland, what was the colonial economy? it was tobacco. these were all drugs. and the first time a lot of these drugs were introduced back to europe, um, people looked at them with revulsion, right? tobacco, it was a bizarre thing. why would you put fire and smoke into your mouth? coffee was thought to be a subversive thing, it was a death penalty offense in many states. for good reason, people would go to t.a.r.p.es, and the only -- taverns, and the only safe thing to drink was alcohol, but with
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coffee you had to boil the water which made it safe, but it also stimulated people. coffeehouses became revolutionary hotbeds. people started talking politics instead of just getting drunk every night. [laughter] so it was, you know, initially a death penalty offense in many states, and now we have turkish coffee, english tea time and, of course, the tobacco fortunes that drove a lot of u.s. and european development. and so long story short, the reason half the world got colonized in some ways is because of a bunch of old white men in europe couldn't get it up. so there you have sex, drugs and international relations in a nutshell. [laughter] but i tell the story because, um, what we consider drugs is important. and so when the mostly white males of european ancestry who drafted this 1961 international convention got to exempt all of their favorite drugs, the ones they were partial to and got accustomed to; coffee, alcohol,
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tea, you know, all these things that they loved to do. but coca was something that indigenous people used, indians. and it was those racist attitudes that made them, you know, say this is forbidden, this causes degeneration, this is terrible stuff. but, in fact, coca in its natural form is actually, i think, a very beneficial plant and relative hi harmless. it's a very, very, very mild stimulus, in my opinion. ..
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>> less than 1% of any excess cocaine and believe he ends up in the united states. and yet the heavy-handed nature just policy would think this was some kind of blood coming from bolivia, the way we dictate terms for the country. and so imagine if the united nations, and the bodies of the u.n. convention were to treat coffee the way with the contempt they treat coca, right? what would happen if, and they told bolivians you have to stop, stop chewing coca which they been doing for centuries if not thousands of years. imagine if they did that to the united states, coffee, you have to give up this habit. what would happen? well, a friend of mine did this. he went to amherst college and
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in 2001 he conspired with the school administration through government to sick leave and coffee for one day, without notice, during finals week as a performance project. so all the students get up in the morning and there's no coffee in the category, the bookstore, the coffee to be sold on campus. they had friends dressed up in trench coats as drug dealers, buddy, you want to buy a shot of espresso, only six bucks. people were buying this stuff. it made in your time, cbs news, all this stuff. and so that is the kind of outrage we would expect if someone told you, you could no longer consume your favorite beverage, your favorite stimulant, coffee. you begin to understand some of the indignities and the outreach and people in the andes when ignorant people decide, other people decide they can't chugh -- can't chugh okemo. finally, i would say this
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treaty, 19613, 62 years old, and the u.s. and a number of small other government say we should not redo these treaties. it's as though they were carved in stone. so much has changed since 1961. would any of these governments defend, diffuse and gender equality, on sexual orientation, on indigenous rights, on race relations, based on 52 your attitudes? of course not. we've evolved. our views have changed. we have become better, and the same people, the drug warriors who want to protect their turf are saying no, we must never revisit these conventions. these things should be set in stone for all time. and, of course, that time has come to change these things. so to talk more about these, i will send it over to a letter. >> thank you. is this on? yes. so i would like to just offer a few more reflections on the coca
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leaf and then talk primarily about what's going on with regard to efforts to reform the international drug convention and then i will conclude with some thoughts on the growing movement for drug policy reform. what i really want about ricardo's book, apart from illustrations which are great, is how he reveals the hypocrisy's of the so-called war on drugs, u.s. war on drugs. and one of those as sanho pointed out is how coffee is treated differently than coca. i would go farther than sanho in saying that my own experience is that coca is a mild stimulant but it doesn't have the edge that coffee does. you can drink two cups of coca and you can go to sleep without any trouble later that night. if i drink two cups of coffee in the afternoon, i'm up half the night. i can't sleep it doesn't give you that to our stuff you drink, or half-hour after you drink the cup of coffee a crash. coca is a mild, very nice stimulant. it has a variety of nutritional values. so apart from the fact it's been
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used by indigenous peoples for both religious, cultural and nutritional regions -- reasons for centuries, there's an effort to great a variety of legal local products taking advantage of, the advantage is that it offers a not only bolivia but also in peru and colombia. so it's not long ago i was in bolivia and had the opportunity to visit a coca processing plant which sanho is also been to that the government has built in the coca growing region in bolivia and that he opportunity sample some of their products. have a marvelous coca look or whichever like. of a variety of energy drinks. there's an energy drink in colombia that a group produces which has a great flavor to it but again it's not like drinking red bull. it's a very nice kind of stimulant to it would be much better for you. there's all kinds of ointments, a variety of breads and royals made from coca flour.
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there's also these, this is a bad from what they call -- basically cheese puffs that the government is distributing to kids through a free breakfast program. the folks at the plant went on about how great these are. i thought they were awful myself. but i guess the kids like them but i also confess that i really hate coca toothpaste. but my point is that there are variety of products that have very listed and good uses, and should be available not only in these countries but also in the international market. there are a variety of uses beyond what coca-cola uses for flavoring. another hypocrisy of the convention -- another hypocrisy that ricardo points to in this book is related to the conventions. i was struck reading your book. i had not realized this coach relationship between art slinger
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who was the u.s. drug czar for decades and the president of coca-cola. vice president of coca-cola. very cozy relationship. so in the in the 1961 u.n. single convention on narcotic drugs and the subsequent 1988 convention make coca growing at a criminal offense under international law. indigenous peoples across the andes were told that the traditional practice of coca leaf chewing and drinking coca tea with a longer be tolerated by the international community. and it's important to point out that the u.s. was the architect of these treaties. certainly have support from other countries. today, they have key allies in the effort to maintain the treaties such as russia, japan, sweden. but it really is a u.s. instrument. so coca, along with cannabis and opium, became the main targets of the 1961 convention.
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this historical air as i like to call it, was basically justified by the 1950 reports of the commission of inquiry on the coca leaf, which as sanho pointed out is a totally racist document. it's totally, totally racist. has no scientific evidence. you can find on the web. you'll be outraged as you read it. yet it is to the basis for the international drug control conventions treatment of coca. subsequent to that in the 1990s, the u.n. world health organization carried out a study, w.h.o., carried out a study of coca and cocaine, and they concluded that the use of coca leaves appears to have no negative health effects and has positive therapeutic sacred and social functions for indigenous and indian population but there's a variety of other studies including one done by harvard that points to nutritional value of coca, of the coca leaf. but in response to the w.h.o.
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study, not surprisingly the us government led the charge against it. it died in peer-reviewed and was never published, although again you can find on the internet. the 61 convention also calls for the elimination of coca chewing within 25 years of, going into force of the convention, and the period ran out in 1989. in the meantime, the international community adopted the universal declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, which calls for the respect for the cultural traditions and medicinal practices of indigenous populations. for many countries, including the united states, they have basically accepted the idea of the indigenous use of coca leaves. four years you could get coca tea and the u.s. embassy in order to help deal with altitude sickness. they only took it away after sanho and others started pointing out that it was readily available out the embassy. yet, despite these changes, the
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u.s. government and other governments have refused to allow any changes to the international conventions, and any changes that would correct this historical wrong. turning now to efforts to change it, the election of the president of bolivia is a coca grower himself, marks the real turning point in the latest relations with the international community, and in terms of the government's policy towards the coca leaf. they basically come his of administration adopted that coca yes, okay now approach. they eliminated the forced eradication strategies that led to so many human rights violations, violence, social conflict, and replace that with a program of voluntary social control, which has actually had better results than the previous policies asserted better results than, say, neighboring peru. and 2011 there was a 13%
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decrease in coca, and that coca production in the country according to the u.s. government. but with regards to the international conventions, i can begin a campaign to try and write this, practice historical error. the first thing you did which everyone agrees was sort of a modest effort of change was to try and amend the '61 convention by removing the two subparagraphs that basically say that coca leaves chewing needs to be abolished within a 25 year period that has now passed some years ago. they simply wanted to delete those two paragraphs. without any objection, bolivia's request would've been automatically accepted, but not surprisingly, the u.s. led the charge to oppose that the amendment to the convention, rallying what they call a friends of the convention group of governments, 18 in all, which objected and hence forded bolivia's effort. so in response to the, a year
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ago the police and government decided withdraw from the 19 '61 convention and read here with the resurrection regarding the traditional illegal uses of the coca leaf. the way that process worked is that one-third of member countries would need to formally object to prevent bolivia's we adherence to the convention a year later. and, in fact, tomorrow is the deadline for countries to oppose the lady coming back into the international convention. as of midafternoon today, i know of 13 countries that have objected. of course, the u.s. was the first to object to i'm sure there will be a few more in the next 24 hours, but at this point it's obviously not likely, highly improbable that you would get the 62 that you would need to prevent bolivia's return. so on the one hand, this is a victory for bolivia. they will be able to return to
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the international drug control community with their reservation on the coca leaf. but it will only affect the lady. it doesn't affect the convention. so internationally, this historical wrong has yet to be corrected. the u.s. government, as i said, was the first to object. they basically said they were objecting because, allowing this change would lead to a greater supply of available coca and hence, would lead to more cocaine and more drug trafficking. that argument as absurd as so many levels that i'm not even going to go into it. their fear is that this is going to be the beginning of more serious changes to the convention, and at other countries are going to follow suit. in other words, any change to this outdated document, these outdated documents, will open up pandora's box of attempted reform. and i think, frankly, that they have reason to be concerned, and i would just conclude with this. they are afraid that marijuana is going to be next. and why not?
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earned wide has proposed markets for cannabis in that country. that is very likely to pass in the next six months with an earthquake it will be the first country in the world to have legal cannabis markets, if it does. we just legalize marijuana in colorado and washington. we were at a forum yesterday cosponsored with brookings on the come and one of the panelists said well, you should just withdraw from the convention and read here like bolivia did. obviously, not likely to happen that the u.s. is not at odds with the international conventions that it created. there is more and more impetus for reform coming, particularly from latin america which has borne the cost of the u.s. war on drugs. increasingly officials are saying why are we giving these policies that made things much worse in our countries in order for u.s. consumers to have less drugs available to them? that just doesn't make sense to
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go for the first time you sitting presidents as opposed to ex-presidency like santos in columbia, guatemala, or calling for aces debate on drug policy reform. there been a series of initiatives that we can go into detail on in the discussion but they're coming from the region. but most significantly at the request of mexico, colombia and guatemala, ecosoc, the un's ecosoc has just approved the holding of a u.n. special session. human general assembly special session on drugs which will take place a few years from now, 2016. but provide the next really serious opportunity for convention reform. who knows what will happen? it's too far out, but there is clearly a move for change in the region and that's why the u.s. government is so nervous. thank you. >> i actually want to do one
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more story your as you were talking, reminded me of. so as you were saying from the coca-cola company was aligned with harry anslinger to codify the special access to coca leaves, the coca-cola how they got the ax is in the '61 single convention. so after that happened, the coca-cola companies, they have legal access to coca now. but it was always i think the little politically problematic for them to ensure that they would always have access to coca. they're changing governments in latin america. they don't know if they will have an end. so they wanted to try to grow coca in the united states. so they could have better access to it, and also to have, i think that what was the want of greater cultural knowledge of the play. basically to be able to tinker with levels of cocaine, to tinker with the different flavors. so that asked the federal government actually at this
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point right after the convention, anslinger retired as commissioner, went on to represent the u.s. at the u.n. and the new commissioner. giordano, and the coca-cola company asked him, okay, we want to grow coca in the united states now. can we work something out? and so as long allies for the coca-cola company, they said yeah, sure. what do you want? we are thinking u.s. virgin islands but how about hawaii. hawaii sounds great. so they went to the university of hawaii, and contacted the president of the universe of why instead we want to start this pilot program to grow coca leave on u.s. soil. we work at all the legalities even though it's technically not legal, this is a matter of scientific research. the president of the university of hawaii said that's great, but we can't keep it secret. we can take the coca-cola name off the project. we're a public university, and so unless as a matter of national security or something.
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and so, the federal bureau of narcotics is light yeah, it's a matter of national security. so they're like okay, sure, it's a secret. so basically this project went on. it started in 1964, and it went on until 1984. they were growing coca at the university of hawaii. the funny part about this, and why i bring this up, what ended up happening really was that the coca actually didn't really grow very well. in fact, most of it died. so 1984 the abandoned the project, and the u.s. department of agriculture took over the project because they wanted to find out why this coca was dying and they figured out that there was a fungus that was taking over the coca and was killing this coca. and so the dea took over this project because they want to develop this fungus is a way to eradicate coca. so i find that one little store is just really a marvel because it encapsulates the whole relationship that's going on.
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we have this leave that indigenous people are denied access to, that we have heard it ihas lots of nutritional, socia, medicinal, religious, cultural value to people. and they are denied access to this leave, but you multinational corporations that are granted special privileges access so that they can use the same late to make billions and billions of dollars, and that's what they did. penny starr this experiment so that they can make more. it doesn't go so well for them so the u.s. government takes it over and transforms the same project in a way to eradicate coca back in the amazon. and so the last i heard was, i think with president clinton who, who said, the dea was asking to release this fungus into the rain forest. president clinton said no, at the time. the last i heard in 2007 was that they're still looking into ways of using this fungus as an eradication method. it sounds kind of iffy,
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releasing a fungus into a rain forest. but yeah, i just think that's an interesting way of seeing how these privileges are afforded some powerful factors and not to others. i just want to throw that in. >> i would just add real quick, first on the fungus thing. one of the great experts in this town, jeremy who is sitting in the audience who has done research on this issue, perhaps we can talk later, jeremy, but on the question of u.s. embassy, the u.s. embassy's own website used to recommend to travelers landing to have coca tea. it's a no-brainer. la paz, how may people have been too low cost? it's about 13,000 feet high. and the airport, a plateau above the city is even higher. so your oxygen content at that altitude is about 40% of which would have at sea level. so you suffered terrible altitude sickness, had expected utility do anything for the first two days, and less you
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consume coca products, whether chewing coca or having the coca candy they sell at the airport, or coca seeds. that will allow you to a clinic to that attitude -- altitude. it's not what you feel when you chew the coca. it's what you don't do. you don't feel high but you don't feel the altitude and you don't get those headaches. and so it's a very benign product. but one more point about the perceptions of coca. when the spaniards first started having south, getting to the andes, they ran across these indigenous peoples let the customer of chewing coca. and the church thought this must be the work of the devil, right? this vile thing in their mouth, green, slimy. they banded. until they ran into the biggest silver deposits in the history of the world. a mountain in bolivia, 14,000 feet high.
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there was no way they're going to be able to force indigenous people to mine at the altitude without coca. and so suddenly the church did a 180, instead of being this band thing, it became mandatory and past. and so perceptions about things change. >> just add one more comment in response to ricardo's statement, which is that we are poisoning the rain forest because we're engaged in aerial spraying as much of you know i'm sure, in colombia, which has a whole range of negative impacts on that country and on the amazon. and just to end with an anecdote, the former u.s. ambassador to peru, was ambassador in the '80s, told me a story once, they were trying to convince the people -- both bolivia and peru have refused aerial spraying programs in the country. they were tried to convince peru so they brought of the delegation, i think it was to
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georgia, to show them how they would do the spraying. and they started the little presentation, and then out walked these men in white astronaut suits covered from head to toe with a sample of the spraying and the peruvians just ran and said no way, we are not going to do that. so we will end on that. >> and so now we will, by show of hands, i will bring the microphone around so then everyone can hear your question, and then we will start our discussion. so does anyone want to kick this off with a question? comments for the panel, something want to share to the matter? okay, i will start here, the man in the back and then i will. spent i was just wondering as a follow-up, did you ever have a widespread eradication of coca leaf because of the '6 '61 dan?
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>> widespread but not effective. so in colombia where we do the aerial spraying, the fumigation, we destroyed millions of acres of coca and rain forest and if i'm. this is one of the most -- we're scorching the lungs of the earth people want our politicians don't talk what is that colombia is bigger than texas and california combined. the same is true of bolivia, the same is true of peru. these are very large land masses. trying to eradicate coca is like trying to have a war on dandelions in the trendy. good luck, it's not possible. nonetheless, our drug warriors have done this in colombia. after 12 years of spring and just merciless onslaught of eradication, 12 years ago, 90% of cocaine in the united states originated from columbia. after a dozen years of a cancer drug were inclined to come today about 95% of u.s. cocaine originates from columbia. where as less than 1% originates from a bully. the bolivians have done much better in terms of eradication,
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of excess coca and interdiction of cocaine, some of it is transiting through peru to brazil and argentina in of the country but also they have captured and seized more of that than previous governments to so by any objective standard, the bolivians have done better than previous governments and yet our state department still denigrates their efforts, at least in public. but the eradication in bolivia, there's been manual forced eradication as in peru as well, which is very, very violent and difficult to stomach. i used to think that manual eradication might be kind of a kinder, jennifer we did it rather than using these toxic herbicides that was great over colombia, and already to eradication in colombia and watched them do this. and with the national police literally hold the family members at gunpoint after their little shack while a team of 40 men come in, and within a half
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hour destroy her livelihood. and uproot all your coca trees. bushes. and what happens is that you forces then these people into food insecurity. these are peasant farmers are bolivia for the longest time was the poorest country in south america. tremendous poverty. when you destroy their only source of food security, right, they panic. how am i going to feed my family next week, next month, next you? what is the one crop they know how to grow that's relatively easy to transport, unlike pineapples and other perishable, refrigeration all all this other stuff, for which they are already willing and able buyers. that is coca vacancies they will replay and more coca. so the constant cycle eradication replanting and conflict was finally broken by evo morales' administration they granted the right to grow a personal amount of coca. each family is about to grow about 40 meters by 40 meters.
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that's enough to guarantee a modest income for a family. you won't get rich doing this, but you can save money, you can send your kids to school, very basic things, but you can save a little money. and then you can start to diversify the economy. i've seen these villages that under u.s. policy constant conflict, insecurity, more of the same, reins, rather, repeat. now i go back to some of these same times and their portion. the economies are diversifying because -- diversify because they have some food security, kubrick to billy, they're able to invest money into have experience cooking, they'll open a restaurant or the hotel or a car repair shop or whatever, and that's a get this economy to diverse lo fight and to win them all coca eventually. it's counterintuitive but it's like the recession in the united states. as long as people insecure and don't know what tomorrow will bring, they will hunker down, not take risk, not invest that
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they will not diversify the economy. >> i would just like to congratulate our speakers. i'm one considers myself -- i follow these very closely. insights that i learned and i congratulate you for your very provocative presentation i want to make two points in addition to that, and that is, bolivia come you mentioned the embassy, i suppose advising americans -- [inaudible]. other non-adages sectors in bolivia, like student groups are truck drivers are taxi drivers, for social reasons the university students like to chew coca, just as did all right to study for exams. truck drivers to stay awake on the road to diminish fatalities. you have a lot of very nice contributions to the site from
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using coca as well. it struck me, too, pursuing, marijuana can be very productive for your interest in changing attitudes, perception working towards policy changes. marijuana, there's so much movement on that right now, america has been thinking about it. the more you can draw parallels to the coca situation to the marijuana seems to me to be very productive, very enlightening to people. it helps them think about in different ways. i wanted to ask specifically, in the 1951 convention did call also for the 25 year elimination of consumption of marijuana, and what were, how would you define those goals? was it similar to coca or did have some other nuance? 10-thank you. i would like to point out that believing government is the lead u.s. is now out of lines with
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conventions as they are as well. with regards to the '61 convention, it was just coca. it doesn't call for the elimination -- it of course makes it illegal, the growing and consumption of, accidents the idiot convention that makes growing illegal but the growing and consumption, growing and production, not consumption, excuse me, of marijuana, coca, and poppy. puppy has got, there's a variety of exceptions for poppy. just to be clear on this concern, the conventions make conduction and trafficking illegal. there's nothing in the convention that make consumption illegal. so for example, the dutch coffee shop where you are able to consume marijuana, that technically does not fall outside of the convention. it falls outside the convention is the people who sell the marijuana to the dutch coffee shops. but as i said, it was a special
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commission on the inquiry of the coca leaf that was, that led to such dramatic action with regard to coca. >> i think marijuana is a very good illustration of how things change, generationally. i do believe marijuana is a gateway drug. a gateway to becoming president. every president we've had since 1993 as it is our drug laws in very serious ways. some of them possibly even crossing mandatory mandatory -- mandatory minimum. it speaks entire generation of our lawmakers. so newt gingrich, susan molinari, rick santorum, a lot of these -- al gore coming in, they've all consume marijuana. they have all admitted doing this. in fact, it's hard enough to find people who came of age in the '60s and '70s who didn't use marijuana. so you recall the democratic primary, i think was in 2008 or 2004 primary where they had the
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democratic wannabes on the stage. i think was anderson cooper asked him over, raise your hand if you didn't use marijuana. joe lieberman sheepishly raised his hand. so the question then becomes well, what is the basic legitimacy of these laws? the hypocrisy under which these are written and voted on. these are the same people who violated the laws are now voting on more of these laws, and the question has to be asked, with a good stiff prison sentence would've been good for your life and your career, and if not, why would it be good for all these people, poor people and people of color? so it's coming full circle. but we can't avoid these questions much longer. >> thank you. i'm enjoying the presentation. i've a question about where the pharmaceutical industry is on all of this? and if they also like the coca-cola relationship with the drug czar's. i'm assuming that there's a lot of pharmaceutical products that rely on the coca, the coding and all these other products.
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like, where do they get their supply and on the also a line can send itself very nicely will also there's more draconian policies play some people? >> i guess they kind of pharmaceutical companies at large but you might be able to chime in that. i do know that the process that the coca-cola company outsourced to the company in new jersey, basically to get the flavor, the flavor extract the figures for coca-cola, you take the coca leaves, they import tons of coca leaf, hundreds of tons of coca leaves over the last century, and then there's a process to extract the cocaine. so what comes out of that process is a really fine grade cocaine, probably the best cocaine you'll find in the united states of america. is manufactured by this company.
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the last verifiable quote that i could get was that they were selling to the pharmaceutical industry to the company, pharmaceutical cover but i'm not sure if that's still where it goes, but cocaine has been historically used as a local anesthetic, and there still some use for it in medical industry, although for the most part cocaine has been, now replaced by synthetics like lidocaine and novocaine. but there still some medical use for it. >> [inaudible] >> where the coca comes from? coca comes from peru. [inaudible] >> yet, i'm not sure if they ever got coca from bolivia. i heard that morales talked about that was happening. i've never seen actually the evidence of the but i heard it did come from bolivia as well. but peru is primarily where the
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coca comes from. now, with this after that, it goes to new jersey. i'm also curious, and i haven't been able to discern this year, and it's a follow-up investigation, as to on the other countries where coca-cola has been able to do this. in my research i was in the national archives, i was following a thread with their trying to do the same thing in the uk. and just a couple years ago, trace elements of cocaine were discovered in red bull cola in germany. which leads one to believe that yes, this has been going on another country. it's not on the coca-cola company's and just didn't have access to these coca extract, but red bull got at one point and didn't do such a great job of taking the cocaine out so much that there was still some that they found. >> i would just add that, in fact, the international drug control conventions were set up to allow access come and monitor access, to control the medicines. so i don't know a lot about this
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but there are people who followefollowit very closely bue international cards control board is specifically tasked with overseeing the exported importation of what are otherwise illicit drugs in order to ensure that people have access to painkillers, basically. and it's primarily populated, opium related, but also there is a small market of controlled cocaine production, very heavily monitored by the imc be for that purpose. >> i'd like to get, circle around back to the not avoiding the question, and the question is what do we do politically? and i've a small opportunity here for people in their interest. there is a special election coming up. there's one candidate running on the green party platform which says, stop the war on drugs and
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normalize recreational drugs. now, i do have some petitions you that you consign later. >> -- you can sign later. >> so the question is what do we do. and from a policy perspective, if you do, how may people communicate with their elected officials to express their view on any subjects? good, good. very civic minded group of a lot of people in a country do and they think there's nothing i can do to do this. when i was in high school i had a good civics teacher, but i was taught each branches of the government. and if you're upset about something, write a letter. but, in fact, there's a whole toolbox that we can do as individuals at the local level. there's a tremendous amount of leverage you have if you know how to build effective coalitions, how to committee with legislation effectively. history is made by those who show up.
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so if you sit on your couch and complain, that pretty much guarantees things won't change. but on the other hand, if you start learning how to do these things, had asked for meetings with the represented, how delight and effectively or really coalition, then you become the squeaky wheel because elected officials remember the members of congress would have opportunities to take all of the district every time there's an issue to be voted on. too cumbersome and too expensive. so they want to know what kind of letters are we kidding, letter to others to the edge of, of its, how many factors to get from constituents, how many phone calls, how many people came to visit. so they extrapolate and there are very few people on the other side these days pushing for more drug war, but, you know, so it gives us an advantage in terms of representing ourselves, but that means you have to get involved. and if you don't, then it's a lost opportunity. >> i just want to add a little story. i reached out to the coca-cola
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company several times. at first under the auspices of writing an article about the flavor profile of coca-cola and i was talking to the director of worldwide communicate and about, i drink coca-cola myself, how much i like the flavor, this and that. then when the question of coca-cola comes up, cocaine, the rumors of cocaine. pages shut down. there's a stock line, he told me it was a starkly. he said this is what i say every time when someone asks about the, just this reform is one of our most valuable assets and, therefore, we can't talk about. so they get to hide behind this bill in secrecy by claiming, you know, that it's part of their plan. that's the point and, in fact, it is their plan. you can go down to the coca-cola museum in georgia and the secret form is behind a big bank vault. it's part of like -- it's a secret. another time i reached out to
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coca-cola. they have a twitter account that is dr. john pemberton is the pharmacist who invented coca-cola. so now they have a twitter page for him. he speaks in old time language and talk about riding on horses. so i sent him a drawing i had done when i was a child but when i was eight i was still into coca-cola's i sent him to shrink that's great, i love. i wonder what he could to do. i can do this and i sent him another picture of pemberton wine coca bottle which is what coca was before it was coca-cola. there was alcohol in it. alcohol was prohibited before cocaine was in georgia at the time. so they had to take the alcohol out. that's when he added caffeine to give you an extra kick and that was the cola nut, the west african kolobnev pics i sent in that picture and he's like, doctor pemberton, that's great, too. i love it. don't show the polar bears dig in michael yaki.
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basic of trying to really meant it at that point i said i have another question. about this convention on narcotic drugs it had you feel about how the coca-cola has access to coca and yet the indigenous people are not allowed to have, et cetera, et cetera. in a twitter feed, that at that point he didn't answer. [laughter] and it's funny because his avatar, the little twitter page from his avatar is like it's a secret. so i did it just so i could illustrate the entire dialog afterwards as we have just interfacing with these companies. and i planned to continue to keep knocking on the door asking about this. >> we have a question here. and another woman over there as well. >> thank you so much. this is been fascinating. i was wondering if you guys
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could tell us if you could set your ideal policy for the war on cocaine specifically, an elegantly of cocaine in the u.s. right now? like what would a policy be and how does that fit in with all of this that you've talked about? thanks. >> i think you'd get a lot of different responses to that within the drug policy reform movement. and i want to underscore that there is a drug policy reform movement here in this country at all -- also in latin america. in latin america that wasn't the case of years ago. with regards to coca, i think it's a no-brainer. there's no reason coke and should be prohibited in international law. there's no reason that countries like bolivia, peru and colombia should not be allowed to market coca products in nationally. there's no reason that coca-cola should not be allowed to use their coca flavoring. and, of course, other countries
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should be allowed to do the same. the amount of cocaine altoids in the coca leaves is miniscule. it's tiny. it's very small. so it does not pose any kind of danger when used in its natural form. i do think that there is an issue with the people who grow coca are some of the poorest people in latin america the these are poor farmers with small plots of land but i think we have an obligation to help those countries bring those people out of poverty, and that means comprehensive, equitable, world economic development programs in areas like the bolivian area along the lines of what sanho was saying earlier. with regards to cocaine, i think that's where it gets trickier. there's a certain -- certain our people who would advocate for complete legalization of drugs across the board. my own personal opinion is that one drug use should not be
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illegal, we should not be putting cocaine users or users of any other drug in jail. two, i think we need to experiment with marijuana legalization so that we begin to have somebody of scientific evidence to see what happens when you legalize first a drug that is much less dangerous, and what we can learn from that are looking at more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine and more addictive drugs such as cocaine. and i also think we need to fundamentally revamp our drug laws. this is an issue i work a lot on in latin america. we have created a system where we put in jail primarily small-scale drug dealers, they guys, girls, boys selling the drug on the street corner, running drugs back and forth, or the people in the country who are transporting trucks. these people are making a lot of money off of it. the day you arrest them they are placed -- replaced by the drug trafficking organizations. yet, they go to jail in this
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country, and particularly in latin america, which has adopted a across the board in many countries harsh u.s. drug laws, they can end up with 20th century. one example, ecuador which really has, it's a minor player in the international drug trafficking network. the maximum sentence for murder in the country is 16 years. the sense for drug trafficking is a minimum of 12, maximum of 25 years. and it doesn't distinguish between your level of involvement in the drug trade. you go to jail and ecuador and you find people who are selling drugs on the street corner who had a judge that was in a particularly bad mood that they are was were they getting his u.s. visa renewed, and gave him a sense of 20 years, and he ends up in jail for longer than somebody who has committed murder. it's just ridiculous. so we need to be a major reform of our drug laws to ensure that sentences are proportionate to the crime committed.
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>> i would just add that the way we talk about this is difficult in the united states. americans are very simpleminded people. we like simple answers, unfortunately. black or white, yes or no, who are the good guys in which came to light wood for? but, in fact, there's a spectrum of regulatory possibilities. the poverty of our political discourse that prevents us from having a meaningful discussion about this issue, so that for instance, then you what, the eskimos, have some two dozen words to describe snow. snow is important to them. life or death. increasingly it's disappearing. but that was the richness of the book either. and yet we hold democracy to be so viable in this country so much so will export i and invade other countries and opposed. but we don't have to worst to describe democracy in this country, democrat or republican. if you dare vote green party or socialist or libertarian or whatever, you are viewed as some
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kind of a freak or something like that. and it robs us of the choices, and so we are not allowed to consider the spectrum of regulatory possibilities, even in human politics for instance. in history of the human experience we did everything from totalitarian fascism on one into anarchism on the other end and everything in between. every human society has a different ways to organize its culture, its economy, its politics. and that we are not allowed to consider any such human expenses other than these very to close point on the spectrum, democrat or republican that are increasingly so close together came oscar to squeeze between them. that carries over to the way we talk about drugs. yes or no, legal or illegal. but, in fact, legalization is a word i think has become rate act the drug wars have had many decades to spend that term and defined the way they want it defined which is anarchy. when i debated drug was in the past the help of a very simple,
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false dichotomy. either you support a zero-tolerance, or your issues as of the accused of wanting to sell heroin and candy machines for children to read in fact there's a whole spectrum of regular possibilities for different drug. each drug should be treated differently. and so we have to experiment and find out which policies work best for each particular drug. statements are bit more problematic, but we need to find -- to what extent our war on cocaine ridgely in the '80s helped popularize and spread a poor person's version of cocaine, crack. and to what extent it our war on crack help the populist the poor person's crack? method. each time would end up with an issue to produce more difficult to stop, more problematic, more dangerous drug. this is a lesson we should have learned from alcohol prohibition. there are many lessons to alcohol prohibition help transform a nation of beer drinkers into a nation of liquor to get.
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if you're a bootlegger drink alcohol prohibition, the last thing you wanted to smuggle was view. a giant keg of beer. a very low return on your investment and you run the risk of going to prison. it's of course you wanted the most pure form of alcohol and manageable, whether it's granduncle or moonshine or hard liquor. but given choices, how many of you are drinking liquor tonight? most of you are drinking it of beer or wine, right? a drug wars would say everything in the super public good, people always gravitate towards that. any of you can go out, over 20 liquor store and the like granduncle. how many have you have had grain alcohol since college? right, people don't want that stuff. you prefer the mildest. so this idea that drug warriors are trying to drive into our minds i think is a false -- >> choose to underscore one point which is like the. one of the conflict about the international conventions is that the u.s. within, with the
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conventions and in this policy towards latin america has basically pushed a one size fits all policy designed in washington. and what countries are saying is hey, our reality may not be your reality. uruguay is a kind of a country of 3 million people that has a really, very primarily urban population with solid institutions which has a very good capability to actually create legal regulated markets for candidates. why can't they do at? why should the international drug control conventions say that uruguay can do that, or colletti can do that, et cetera? so what we need here is a regime that allows for flexibility, that allows countries to experiment, or even states in this country, with what they think works best for them. >> i want to quickly add, what we could do with the billions of dollars, the prison infrastructure, that gets
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transferred into education and then people make wiser decisions. i think like you said, how is access to math, dirty, cheap bad drugs if they were able to get access to much more benign drugs like marijuana, they might make decisions if they hatch -- if they had education, we might not ever get rid of drug simply that there are safer alternatives to the worst option. >> we have one last question over here in the corner for the evening, and they were going to give wrap up this portion and move on to the book signing. so the last question for the evening. >> i wanted to thank you. very, very good presentation, and i think we're on a good pace with the coca leaves is innocuous or even beneficial substance. however, it is true you get cocaine from the coca, and cocaine is quite, well, it's a
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substance where you can make a lot of money. and you've got the drug cartels involved in that. how can you control the growth of coca without getting the drug cartels involved, and keeping it from being processed into the cocaine that can be outside words in terms of effects on a society compared to the coca leaf? >> i think this is one of the most important concept to get across about the war in drugs, and that is why i the substance is valued? why are they worth so much? cocaine, heroin, marijuana can all these drugs are very easy to produce. they are cheap to produce. in a legal market they cost pennies to produce and get their astronomically more expensive. a lot of it has to do with our policy prohibition but as long as there's high demand in countries like the united states, there's a reservoir of peasants farmers, poverty by greed or insurgency or for whatever reason, they get into the drug economy because they
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think it will get away with it and most times they do. but it's a risk. the more we escalate the war on drugs the more value we go into this economy. so that you can buy a kilo of pure cocaine in colombia from 81,000 or $1500. by the time you smuggle it to the united states, by the time the dealers cut into little bags, you can get 100,000-150,000 i'm even more for the exact same kilo gram but if you sent the same kilo by fedex or dhl, assuming it's illegal, it would cost you maybe 100, 200 bucks. instead we keep escalating the drug war. the greater the risk to each traffic along a smuggling route, along with the potential presence and they might have to strip it are likely they will get caught. the greater the threat to themselves, the greater the risk premium, the more they can charge the next person down the drug later we created a tremendous indirect price support if you will for drug
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traffickers. and so the people, a lot of people wan who want this drug wo end are the traffickers themselves because without their basically transporting this mod which don't fetch a lot of money, and the drug warriors. the symbiotic dependency to have it both need each other to keep their jobs in making their lives. so if you legalize, if into the drug war, take away the risks and suddenly it becomes like any other agricultural commodity, like aspirin. >> i would just have a different perspective and looking at it from the perspective of if your goal is to disrupt the cocaine market, what's the best way to do that, and what we've seen as i think daniel pointed out earlier is that going after the coca leaves has very little impact on the cocaine market isn't very interesting studies that an economist has done in colombia. he's in bogotá. and basically he concludes that
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it's collocated economic cost-benefit analysis and concludes that money invested in eradicating coca has almost no impact on the cocaine that is produced and ends up here. if you're going after the cocaine industry you will get a lot more bang for your buck going after the criminal organizations, going after, going after cocaine shipments, that sort of thing. and effect what we've seen in bolivia is the government has put a greater priority on trying to interdict the cocaine itself as opposed to forced eradication campaigns. although they have, they do carry out voluntary coca eradication. so i think you have to look at where do we want to target our law enforcement efforts, and should be the small farmers growing coca, or should it be those criminal organizations and the people within those organizations who are making the best profits from the illicit
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business it and finally i would just like to reiterate what sanho said which is, ultimately it's demand that drives this process. the u.s. continues to be the world's largest consumer of illicit drugs, and if we really want to be serious about impacting the drug trade we have to put a lot more money into treason and education programs here at home, distinguishing between recreational and problematic drug use, which is another thing that relates to the question about better drug policies, and ultimately look at this as a demand driven problem. spent and without i want to conclude our presentation this evening that i want to thank our panelists, i want to thank all of you for coming out. [applause] >> tell us what you think about a programming this weekend. you can tweet us at booktv, comment on facebook wall, or send us an e-mail.
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booktv, nonfiction books every weekend on c-span2. >> so, this is a poem that i first heard in turkey. come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshiper, it doesn't matter. ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you broken your vows 1000 times. come yet again, come, come. a couple reasons that this is meaningful to me, it's in the book sacred ground and i say that whenever i look at the statue of liberty, disagree, this beautiful woman of welcoming, the inscription is bring me your tired, your poor, your out of masses, yearning to breathe free. it's this notion of america and radical welcoming and openness. bring your traditions, plant the seeds in american soil. let them grow into institutions
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and into congregations that a welcoming and open to others. and so that spirit of welcoming and openness that they think is a part of the american tradition, i think it's a part of islam as well, and nobody articulates that better or more beautiful in the book. >> so i need to confess that i get emotional when i talk with people like trying to about the issues that we're going to be addressing tonight. particularly the issue of interfaith relations, and also the issue of the idea of america. right after 9/11, several of us, a lot of us gathered at a mosque year at usc it and i heard a sentence that changed my life. and it was this -- to be religious in the 21st century is to be interreligious. and it is that dedication that
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draws me to eboo and the way things. so i'm going to apologize only once for being emotional about these things. if i get choked up you would just say, chalk it up to that. but one of the great moments in this book is his telling about the genesis moment of this book spent so this is ramadan 2010. it's august of that year some waking up at around 4 a.m. and then having my last meal before i do my prayers that begin the time of fasting. and it's at that point that i like them as muslims do, to read more from the koran. ..